Kids camp partnership between country corps spreads the Good News
BY LAUREN MARTIN
A summer holiday kids camp at Tenterfield in northern NSW has seen the Holy Spirit moving amongst participants and volunteer leaders, many of whom had travelled from nearby Moree to be part of the mission.
Moree Mission Leader Jason Poutawa said the Moree Corps youth leaders, the ‘Deadly Diamonds’, had been assisting in leading the Tenterfield summer holiday kids camp for the past three years after the local corps officers at the time, Captains Philip and Rachael Farthing, put out a request for assistance.
“It allows us to get out of town, which a lot of the kids in Moree appreciate, and it allows us to mobilise as a Deadly Diamonds team at the beginning of the year,” Jason said.
The Deadly Diamonds Youth Leadership Program is designed to bring young people who attend The Salvation Army’s Kids Club into a leadership role. “It’s a peer-to-peer type model of leadership,” Jason said. “And it gives the children hope that there’s a better future ahead of them than what they may see in their community at home.”
The annual trip to Tenterfield, where the group runs the Salvos’ school holiday program, is a highlight. “A number of the same kids have been going each year,” Jason said. “Some twice, some three or four times. Now, it’s become a regular part of the expectation for the Diamonds that they know it’s coming up in January.
“Some of them have just finished school now and put leave into their part-time or full-time jobs to come. It’s like a bonding camp for us – and at the same time, we can contribute something to Tenterfield as well.”
The group spends each day playing games, doing crafts, and doing other activities with the holiday program participants. At the same time, they integrate moments of teaching about Jesus and open sharing where the Deadly Diamonds share about who they are, their journey with the Salvos, and their faith.
“The kids were really receptive and engaged in that time and really enjoyed that time,” Jason said. “We had a time of prayer at the end of the last day, and some kids gave their lives to God – probably about 15 for the first time- and other kids committed their lives back to God.”
At the end of each day, after saying goodbye to the kids and packing up, the Moree Diamonds got to work on another aspect of its week of blessing – assisting Tenterfield Salvos with practical projects, such as maintaining the grounds of the sports hall and corps and cleaning out sheds and other areas that needed attending to.
“We are just building on the work of The Salvation Army in Tenterfield, and hopefully, whatever we can contribute in terms of the short-term impact can have a longer-term engagement,” Jason said.